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$12M Verdict Against Bel Air Bay Club for Wrongful Death of Philanthropist At Greene Broillet & Wheeler, our seasoned team of professionals have over 100 years of combined legal experience handling complex legal matters.

GBW Attorneys Attain $12M Verdict Against Bel-Air Bay Club for Wrongful Death of Philanthropist

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Dec. 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — A Santa Monica jury rendered a $12 million verdict to Katherine “Kitty” Keck, the mother of 48-year-old William M. Keck III who suffered from fatal heat exhaustion at the Bel-Air Bay Club in Pacific Palisades.

Keck III died from a heart arrhythmia caused by elevated potassium due to heat exhaustion on September 3, 2017. His mother sued the Bel-Air Bay Club claiming the staff failed to call 911 or administer proper first aid for over three hours after Keck began showing signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion.

“Safety was a big factor that was ignored and my son would still be alive if someone had just called for help,” said Kitty Keck. “It’s always better to be safe than sorry.”

During the two-week trial, Keck’s attorneys argued the club employees owed a duty of care to Keck to recognize his symptoms, his worsening condition, and to get him medical aid sooner.

“This case was about the stunning lack of training and negligence that caused a tragic death that could have been prevented,” said lead plaintiff attorney Bruce Broillet. “We hope this verdict sends a message to other athletic facilities and clubs to take heat exhaustion seriously.”

Keck III had been playing paddle tennis at a tournament on a hot and humid day. Around 1:30 pm he started cramping and asked a locker room attendant to massage his calf. The cramps persisted and worsened over the next few hours while the locker room attendant continued to massage Keck III. The cramping spread and he continued to sweat in the hot and humid locker room in spite of receiving water and Gatorade. No one from the Club called 911 until he started having difficulty breathing at 4:57 p.m. The paramedics arrived four minutes later to find Keck turning blue. The Club had procedures requiring a call to 911 for heat exhaustion that were not followed for more than three hours. Keck III died at the hospital at 5:56 pm.

Keck III is the son of the late William M. Keck II. He was a commercial real estate broker and on the board of the W.M. Keck Foundation and the William M. Keck Jr. Foundation. The W.M. Keck Foundation is best known for its support of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, the Keck Telescopes in Hawaii and the support of Sesame Street on KCET. The William M. Keck, Jr. Foundation has supported the Venice Family Clinic, the Midnight Mission, and Meals on Wheels among other southern California organizations. Keck was responsible for grants from both Foundations to the 1736 Family Crisis Center, the People Concern, and CRE Outreach for Theatre by the Blind.

On November 25, 2019 the jury found that Ms. Keck had suffered $15 million in damages for the loss of the love and affection of her son. The jury also found that the Club was 80-percent at fault for Keck’s death which reduces the award to $12 million.

The plaintiff’s trial team included Bruce Broillet and Alan Van Gelder with the Santa Monica law firm, Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP which is one of the country’s top plaintiffs’ personal injury law firms, specializing in wrongful death, catastrophic injury, legal malpractice, and product defect cases.

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Awards & Associations

  • Best Law Firms by US News
    Named in U.S. News - Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms,” Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP ranks as Tier 1 Personal Injury firm in Los Angeles.
  • The Inner Circle of Advocates
    Founding partners Browne Greene and Bruce A. Broillet are both members of the exclusive invite-only Inner Circle of Advocates, as two of the top 100 plaintiff trial lawyers in America.
    All of our attorneys are proud to be active members of the Los Angeles County Bar Association or LACBA.
  • Consumer Attorneys of California
    Many firm members have been honored by the Consumer Attorneys of California, including Browne Greene, Christine Spagnoli, and Bruce Broillet, recipients of the Marvin E. Lewis Award. In addition, attorneys Bruce Broillet, Scott Carr, Molly McKibben, and Tobin Lanzetta has been honored with the Consumer Attorney of the Year Award.
  • Best Lawyers
    All 15 of our attorneys have been selected to Best Lawyers® after an extensive peer review process.
  • Top 10 Wrongful Death Verdicts in California in 2019
    Our attorneys were featured in TopVerdict for having one of the Top 10 Wrongful Death Verdicts in California in 2019, with $15 million won for the plaintiff in Keck v. Bel-Air Bay Club.
  • Super Lawyers®
    Our firm has more attorneys on the Super Lawyers® and Rising Stars lists than any other law firm in Southern California, with 15 members selected.
    Several partners are active members in the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, with attorneys Browne Greene, Bruce Broillet, and Christine Spagnoli named “Trial Lawyer of the Year."
    Firm partners Christine D. Spagnoli and Molly McKibben have both been honored by the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles and are active members.
  • Top 50 Personal Injury Verdicts in California in 2019
    After winning $2.6 million for the plaintiff’s side in a head-on collision case, our victory was named in the Top 50 Personal Injury Verdicts in California in 2019 by TopVerdict.
  • Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch
    Recipients of this recognition are held up to the same standards as for The Best Lawyers in America, but only legal professionals in the first ten years of their careers qualify. Four attorneys at GBW have been recognized with this award in 2021.
  • American Board of Trial Advocates
    Several of our partners are members in the American Board of Trial Advocates, a national invite-only association consisting of the most experienced trial lawyers.
  • Top 100 Settlements in California in 2019
    Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, was featured by TopVerdict in the Top 100 Settlements across all practice areas in California for 2019.
  • International Society of Barristers
    Our team includes several Fellows and Associates with the invite-only International Society of Barristers in recognition of their trial advocacy.
  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers
    Bruce A. Broillet and Christine D. Spagnoli are Fellows with the invite-only International Academy of Trial Lawyers, a group of elite trial lawyers from over 30 countries.
  • American College of Trial Lawyers
    A preeminent trial lawyers’ organization in North America, the American College of Trial Lawyers have elected firm partners Bruce Broillet, Mark Quigley, and Geoffrey Wells as Fellows.

Why Choose Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP?

  • Decades of Legal Experience
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